The comedy podcast universe is ever expanding, not unlike the universe universe. We’re here to make it a bit smaller, a bit more manageable. There are a lot of great shows and each has a lot of great episodes, so we want to highlight the exceptional, the noteworthy. Each week our crack team of podcast enthusiasts and specialists and especially enthusiastic people will pick their favorites. Also, we’ll keep you posted on the offerings from our very own podcast network. We hope to have your ears permanently plugged with the best in aural comedy.
Kickin’ It Mary Lynn Style #32 – Casey Wilson and Eliza Skinner
MARC: The Nerdist Network continues to be the gateway for comics, actors and comic-actors to find their way into Podcastland. Folks mostly likely would recognize Kickin’ It host Mary Lynn Rajskub from her turns on TV’s 24 and The Larry Sanders Show. She gets real with actress-writer Casey Wilson about her labor-of-love movie Ass Backwards that Wilson created with co-star June Diane Raphael before they begin wallowing in the pain of learning how to (and how NOT to) audition in Hollywood. They get deep inside the mechanics of seeing one’s vision being brought to life by a director. At almost the exact mid-point of the show, comic-writer-and actress Eliza Skinner finally makes it to the podcast due to having been at an audition. The conversation then spins into deeper ruminations about auditions: “I always find it interesting how actors go on on how they chose this part and chose that part,” says Skinner, at which Wilson wonders, “Is there a whole lot of choosing going on?” People not in the Hollywood “scene” are just as likely to find the actors’ explorations as interesting as those who live the life. Rajskub proves to be a host who easily keeps the conversation moving along, refreshingly light but never bubbly.
Analyze Phish #7 - A Crazy Moment in Phishstory with Nathan Rabin and Nick Thorburn
ROGER: After the previous two episodes humorously bailed on the entire concept of the podcast exclusively to talk about the movie Jaws, Analyze Phish rediscovered their raison d’être in their seventh installment. The twist this time was that callers would be the ones attempting to convince the stubborn and absolutely correct Scott Aukerman into suddenly understanding Phish instead of Harris Wittels, who instead of acting defeated continued to annoy Aukerman by uttering his fandom trains of thought instead of solely attempting to be funny. Of course, the friends having a huge fundamental difference is the joke that continues to work because of the talent involved and the infrequency of the episodes (the last Phish related episode was in January 2012.) Guests Nathan Rabin, who is pro-Phish and just wrote a book about seeing them live, and anti-Phish Unicorns and Islands frontman Nick Thorburn added to the “debate“‘s absurdity and legitimacy.
Comedy Bang Bang #229 – Ben Schwartz and Paul F. Tompkins
JOSH: Ben Schwartz and noted nature detester Werner Herzog drop by this week’s musical episode of Comedy Bang Bang to discuss the Thomas Cruise movie Jack Reacher, oversee Werner Herzog’s debut into the unpredictable world of standup comedy and just maybe answer the question, “Have you ever looked up in the sky and been like, there are more birds than ever?” With two of CBB’s most experienced guests joining Scott Aukerman the witty repartee fluently shifts from such disparate topics as the Ben Schwartz/Emmy Rossum relationship watch to Werner Herzog starring in an “over eight yet under 40 fingers” remake of Father of the Bride. After recreating an Abbot and Costello-esque adaptation of the “Where’s the Beef?” commercial, the trio find time to debut two new games: “What Should We Do?” and “Questions, Questions, Questions.” I’d advise listening to this densely packed episode of Comedy Bang Bang as soon as possible because you just never know what the future may bring. “I hope this is not an episode of the podcast that you eventually have to take down from the website,” Herzog matter-of-factly states, “Because you are recording the wrap-up to Ben Schwartz’s death.”
The Mental Illness Happy Hour #121 – Christian Finnegan
JAY: Most people probably recognize Christian Finnegan from his breakout role as the white roommate on “The Mad Real World” sketch on Chappelle’s Show, but you probably never knew the “Mad Real” Christian Finnegan. Sure, his standup reveals his interesting high school career, but Finnegan really bares it all on this episode of The Mental Illness Happy Hour. Host Paul Gilmartin offers a safe place to explore one’s past and let everything out, and boy does Finnegan let it out. Like many great comedy minds, Finnegan’s childhood is filled with pain. Let’s just say his parents were not the easiest to deal with and both of his brothers have passed away. These are just a few of the challenges he has dealt with, but the saddest part of the episode is when Christian reveals that he thinks he may have missed his chance at greatness. In my opinion, Finnegan has a potentially classic hour (yet to be written) just about the things he discusses on this podcast. Christian Finnegan didn’t miss his chance at greatness, he is on the verge of greatness. I can’t wait to see him achieve it.
The Best Show on WFMU - Nathan Fielder
ROGER: Nathan Fielder makes his presence known on the internet without even trying, this time saying during an innocently amusing discussion with Tom Scharpling about Under the Dome that a review of the show should be titled “Under the Dumb”, causing a website to do just that an hour later. Coincidence or not (weirdly probably a coincidence), it’s an example of the kind of power Fielder wields these days, and any interview with him is newsworthy. Scharpling and Fielder had an enlightening ten or so minutes of conversation about Nathan For You before the standard fun controlled chaos of The Best Show swept the host and guest into the vortex of Jon Wurster phone calls and talking shit about Felix Baumgartner. It must have been a great night because Wurster’s check-in was maybe the third or fourth most fun aspect, strangely thanks to an hour that serendipitously became devoted to shingles, and a David Rees phone call about the virus that was hilarious, horrible, and educational.
This Week on the Splitsider Podcast Network:
This week we’re talking about one of everyone’s favorite summer destinations: the beach! Well, more specifically we’re talking about Tim’s trip to the beach this week that ended up with his arm in a sling. Also discussed: illegal ice cream vendors, new types of beach bros that are really into knowledge in all its forms, terrifying things in the ocean like sea snakes and some summer beach tips. Lastly we solve a listener problem concerning what to do in a lab over the summer when everyone else is gone.
Mike Still (UCB Theatre) joins Craig to watch a banned episode of an influential Nickelodeon show from their childhoods, ‘You Can’t Do That on Television.’ Mike and Craig discuss the show’s break speed comedy, it’s insane catch phrases, and how Homer and Marge Simpson may or may not have been based on the show (you decide).
This week on the Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show, Jeff talks once again to Keith Phipps, the editor of Pitchfork’s new movie site The Dissolve. They talk about the summer movies this year (World War Z, Man of Steel, Iron man 3 and Pacific Rim) and what we can expect from the new site.
Our story this week: cats. They are the worst. This is inarguable, timeless wisdom. As if we needed further proof (we didn’t), Cammi Climaco investigates just how much of the worst (all of it) they can be when she cat-sits two purrfect examples of the spewing, defecating, life-ruining mistake we call the house cat.
Josh Sorokach is a comedy writer living in NYC who was once referred to as a “Poor Man’s Joshua Jackson” while on a date.
Roger Cormier always rents the white Mercedes.
Arielle Gordon is everybody’s intern.